Holiday gifts for the runners in your life

With the holiday season here, I was inspired to make a mini holiday gift guide for the runner in your life!

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Running Shoes

Pretty easy right? wrong. Make sure you know the exact size, brand and type of runner they wear! There isn’t one single shoe out there that will fit all. If there is no way to figure out the size, brand or type of runner, a gift card will always be appreciated!

Technical Clothing

Running gear can make a runner more or less comfortable. With various climates and body temperatures, sometimes cotton will be the enemy. Cotton also can create grounds for chafing. No bueno. No need to spend crazy amounts of money on the big brand names. I find places like Wal-mart, Target, Winners, TJ Max and other discount stores have really great technical gear that is affordable and fashionable. Make sure the clothing can breathe and doesn’t have any crazy looking seams (no one likes chafing! ouch!).

Compression gear! it gets mighty pricey at times but can have some benefits. I am a huge fan of CEP compression calf sleeves and socks. Also, there are some really great compression tights and crops out there too.

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Running Accessories

For my winter runners, gloves that have the ability to still use touch screen electronics are seriously the best invention ever. Most of us run with either an ipod or smart phone these days! Does it snow where you are? find a good pair of gators or spikes that can be strapped on over runners to avoid getting snow in the shoes and avoid slipping! also finding toques (or for my American readers, beanies) or ear warmers/head bands are great. If you are shopping for a female runner that has long hair, you can buy many of these hats that have a hole to accommodate the ponytail! Dandy and looks like you have a squirrel on your head (what? totally does! think about it).

The COOLEST stocking stuffer ever? socks! what? everyone wants socks! okay maybe not everyone, but socks are a huge deal to runners and there are so many types out there! ankle socks, compression socks, double layered socks, thin layer socks, socks with support around the arch, etc! It is always good to have extra running socks around!

Above all else? BODY GLIDE or any other anti-chafe stick/cream. Once you get to a certain distance or time out on the road, many runners experience horrible chafing! Chafing from anything! Believe me! I have spots on my lower back STILL from my ipod creating friction on my waist band. These anti-chafe sticks are a blessing!

Reflective Gear

I can’t stress the importance of being as visible as possible. There are so many times I have had close calls with drivers who aren’t paying much attention, and it is hard to see into the card to get eye contact when it is on the darker side. Make sure you and your loved ones are properly lit! There are so many options: lights, reflective strips, knuckle lights, head lamps, reflective vests and much more. Every runner needs some kind of reflective equipment!

Fueling and/or hydration systems/packs/belts etc

If you have a half, full or ultra marathoner on your hands, a fuel belt, a box of gels, new bottles or flasks may be a good option as well. Just be sure it is something they truly want. Like most of us, we have our preferences. It can be as technical as shopping for a purse (am I right ladies?) I personally am a fan of the 2 10 ounce bottled holding fuel belts, but some may prefer the 4 7 ounce bottled belts. Or there are hydropacks as well that are more like a back pack with a long straw! Make sure to get their input!

Race registration

My, now husband, did this for a Birthday gift one year and I was very thankful. Registrations can get expensive! If you have a race bling addict on your hands (hey! we like our medals okay?!) then this will be a big help! Just be sure they have yet to register otherwise you may be running  along side with them!

itunes cards, music players, ear buds etc

I spend a good chunk of money on music. When you are out on the road for a while and do not have a training partner, sometimes music and a podcast are what get you through those days where mother nature is throwing every headwind possible at you. Not all runners listen to music, but I know many that do. I personally love my ipod since it has FM radio on it and it clips onto my belt (older generation) and nothing beats finding ear buds or headphones that do not budge!

Road ID

I am a huge believer in safety. I have been on the road with runners where something does go wrong and medical attention is needed. We don’t always run with a partner or group, so what happens if something bad were to happen? It is good to have ID on you regardless of how far of a run you are going for. There are many options from bracelets, to shoe tags, to writing labels for your clothing.

Motivational pieces

Have you heard: the hardest part is getting out the door? It is really true sometimes with us runners. Motivation and keeping your eye on the prize can be tough when its snowing out. So motivational pieces are key for people like myself. Before EVERY marathon I run I watch Spirit of the Marathon (the first one). Okay, maybe I am a tad superstitious and that is why I watch it before each race..I have a whole set routine! But it is the most inspiring running documentary. For the people with running readers on there hands, there are also some great books (and audiobooks for ON THE RUN 😉 ) out there for runners to learn and improve their running, or even just to read about other runners stories and get inspired.

Subscription to their favorite running magazine

I was gifted this one year and honestly it was a great gift. Running magazines are one of the few fitness type magazines I will actually read, and learn a bit from. Plus they are affordable for the most part!

Electronics

Now this is the more pricier gift on this guide, so it may be something you want to go halfsies on. Again, make sure you know what your runner wants.  Various GPS watches are a great tool to have but know that not every runner is into the techy side of things. Also, there are so many models out there and they all serve various functions. Make sure to ask many questions or at least get a gift receipt.

Pampering!

As we know, running can be physically and mentally demanding. Do you see where I am going with this? *ahem* SPA DAY *ahem* As gnarly as our runner feet can be, we like a good pedicure. Don’t even get me started on how awesome a relaxing massage can be! or if we are in the midst of training? SPORTS MASSAGE. We will love it!!!…err.. okay maybe AFTER the appointment after all the knots have been poked and kneaded out of us!

Or you could call these two devices “pampering” devices.. foam roller or “the stick” anyone? Okay they are love/hate devices but it helps massage our those muscles we work so hard! Every runner must have one or both of these! (LOVE the stick if you are a destination runner like myself. You can pack it so easily!)

Medal hangers

For the runner that has a large collection of racing bling, I suggest a medal wall hanger. There are so many out there of various sizes, colours and various motivational sayings! I absolutely love mine!

and if you just don’t know what their preferences are with any of these? GIFT CARD

I can always appreciate a lovely gift card to my favorite running stores and sports stores! I am a huge fan of gift cards! I rather have the person enjoy what I get them, rather than them saying “uhh thaaaaanks… you shouldn’t have…”

 

Happy Holidays everyone!

 

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Jonesee’s Breadcrumb Free Beef Meatballs

Hey everyone!

So if you used to watch my vlogs every Saturday, you know Matt and I usually do out big grocery shop that day. So this Saturday we went to Walmart, Bulk Barn and Costco and picked up many goodies, including AMAZING new spices to play with. I picked up a few things I don’t normally pick up at Costco since I have been loving cooking up various dishes and trying to make my own recipes. So this week we picked up ground beef for the meat sauce I wanted to make for dinner since we were having guests over. As we all know, Costco usually sells in large quantities so to say the least I had a good 2 lbs of beef left over, so I thought I would attempt to make meatballs for the first time!

I just made them up and gave Matt two and his response was “OOHHH MY GOSHHHH… mmmm. PLEASETELLMEYOUMADEMORETHANTWO!!!!” (no spaces since he said it so darn fast ;)). With that kind of reaction I thought it was only fitting to blog the recipe. I have another pound of beef left in the fridge so I may have to make more by the sounds of it!

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Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 cup chopped baby spinach
3/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons Garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
pepper ( I used a few dashes but its up to you!)
1.5 tsp Coconut thai curry spice (I bought this at Bulk Barn! you can add mild curry spice instead)

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Let’s get cookin’!!

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Chop up spinach and onion. Set aside.
3. Mix flour and spices in mixing bowl. Add chopped veggies and beef.
4. Add beaten egg and mix! I ended up just getting in there with my hands as it seemed to be the easiest method :P.
5. Now get in there and start molding those meatballs and place them on an oiled cookie sheet. You can play with the size you prefer, I made a medium size-ish.
6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes (depending on your oven).

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Et Voila! Yummy beef meatballs! I am going to attempt making Turkey meatballs next. I will keep you all posted on that venture.

Now for the Nutritional Information. As you can see in the picture of the meatballs raw, I ended up making an odd number! So the information here is for the full batch split into 11! (Weird, I know! Silly Jenn. Should have made 12. Coulda shoulda woulda. Oh well!).

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Change of Plans

Gosh I miss having wifi! It is being installed on Friday though, thank goodness. I want to blog from the comfort of my sweatpants, no makeup and messy hair! Is that too much to ask?

Anyway, I wanted to do an update in regards to a big move I decided to make with my meal plan and training plan. As seen here on blog, I have been working with my coach Michelle for about 4 months now. I will just say it, I have decided to stop working with her. It is nothing against her. She is great and people see amazing results with her! But I want to explain why I have made this choice. It is due to something that I haven’t mentioned too much on my blog or Youtube because, quite honestly, I have felt rather embarrassed and nervous to talk about it. I have come to the realization that many people struggle this situation and I thought it would be good to address it.

If you have seen my bio, either on my blog or through my videos, you will have seen that I was always an athlete. Exercise is something I have always been very passionate about and that is still true today. However, I was overweight and matters only got worse after my first year at university. I have always explained it was because “I didn’t know much about healthy eating,” but only part of that statement was true. Really I struggled with binge eating. I now know what situations bring out the “I wanna binge” feeling and this is the main reason why I stopped working with Michelle (again, its not because of her!). Personally, the planned out concise meal plan did not work for me. It brought out the binge eating tendencies. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t gained weight from the many binges I experienced in the past four months. I have maintained part of the weight I lost in month 1. I just feel this was the best step for me.

What I needed was balance. The one cheat every two weeks was not cutting it for me. Also, the fact it was suppose to be a clean cheat. After having beef flank every single day for a month, the last thing I was craving was a beef steak! Again, nothing against this way of eating, it is just not for me.

As a certified trainer and coach, I believe self development is extremely important. I have been studying, reading and learning more about weight lifting, gaining muscle, fat loss, nutrition, and so on. I have come to the realization that much of what I want to accomplish I can do on my own for the time being. I may hire someone, locally, when I get into show prep (because lets be honest, AWKWARD Jenn posing for her show needs to be slightly less awkward!). For now, I am okay to do my own thing.

Also, I am working on my fitness business to get it up and running in the next year or so. I have many big ideas and dreams but the main plan on is to train clients locally as well as online. So I am planning on being a guinea pig for the workouts I am putting together as well as trying out a new way of eating.

As you may have noticed, I am an Instagram-aholic! I had noticed the hash tag #IIFYM all over the place and thought… “what is it with people and acronyms?!” ….just kidding. I was actually very curious and did a fair bit of research. IIFYM stands for “If it fits your macros.” This is my “new way of eating” that I found.

A basic rundown of what IIFYM (click to learn more) is:
Not all calories are created equal. 4 calories per gram of protein, 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates and 9 calories per gram of fat. This is why there is a shift of focus from calorie counting to macronutrient counting. The understanding is that if you want to have treats like frozen yogurt, sushi, pizza, or “insert food of choice here,” you can as long as you have the fat, carbohydrate, protein grams that allow for that. IIFYM is also known as “flexible dieting.” It reminds me a lot of the Weight Watchers “points plus” system that came out when I was working as a leader and receptionist! Like IIFYM, Weight Watchers focus was now on the macronutrients. Why? because not all calories are EQUAL. *light bulb turns on*

I have been using this method of eating and honestly, I am eating clean 90% of the time and still enjoying food I love! I am finally feeling BALANCE again and have no urge to binge. What else? I am seeing improvements in my energy levels, more power in my workouts and changes in my body! Not too shabby if you ask me!

So that is a not so brief run down of where I am at now! I still have plans to compete and gain muscle, I just will be working towards those goals with my own knowledge and planning.

One step at a time

Wanted to share a few thoughts that have been with me the past few weeks…

Since I have been officially DONE undergrad since April 22nd, I have taken the past few weeks to have a bunch of time to myself to reflect, read and renew myself. I have been thinking a lot about what overwhelms me most and how to overcome that. I will be upfront to say I have gained a bit of my weight back, about 10 lbs, and it has made me feel pretty frustrated, annoyed with myself and unhappy. I have experienced some extreme “self love” emotions to extreme lows of “self hate” for my body image in the past few months. It’s exhausting. So I took these “personal development” days to step back and reflect on what to do from here.

tumblr_m6iahq8EKu1rptw4do1_500 I realize that I have a habit of looking too far ahead and not embracing myself and the moment. I am happiest when I live in the moment. When I leave my worries of what could happen if I take this or that risk behind, I find I am freed. I looking too far ahead of where I am right now to be somewhat destructive as it makes me feel overwhelmed and almost “not good enough” to carry on. So what I have decided to do is step back and embrace each step for its ups and downs. From time to time, look bad to admire the battles I have fought and move forward with new ones.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. This was an idea I followed when I started my journey in 2009, and I found a way of losing grip of that idea. One step at a time. I need to focus on each step in order to move forward and feel at ease. I know I am a high anxiety and high stressed individual, so this is what works best for me.